Why So Many Tornadoes Are Striking The US

A warm spell and a low-dipping jet stream are fueling the monster storms that are spawning tornadoes Friday across a wide swath of the country, weather experts said.

Friday, the Storm Prediction Center has received 311 reports of severe weather, including 48 reported tornadoes and a few reported fatalities. This massive storm system also spawned deadly tornadoes on Leap Day, which raked Kansas, Nebraska, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Kentucky and Tennessee. The severe storms killed at least 12 people and included a strong EF-4 twister in Harrisburg, Ill., a rarity for February.

As of Friday morning, the severe storm risk area covered an estimated 162 million people, or 56 percent of the United States, according to weather experts at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

While the main tornado season runs from spring to early summer, this year's early outbreaks show that tornadoes can form under a variety of conditions and strike during fall and winter, too. This year's mild winter and warm start to meteorological spring has upped the risk of dangerous storms.

"We've been in a very warm pattern all winter," said meteorologist Mark Rose of the National Weather Service in Birmingham, Ala. "Because it has been so mild, it increases our chances for severe weather."

Also behind this week's twisters is a low-dipping jet stream. The jet stream is moving at a blistering pace today across the Mid-South and Ohio River Valley. NOAA satellites clocked the jet stream at 150 mph across these regions. The jet stream is bringing cold air from Canada to mix with the warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico. Where these two differing air masses meet is often an area of severe weather, hail, winds and even tornadoes.

The warm air and rapid jet stream will keep fueling the storms thru tonight and into the weekend, according to NOAA. Weather experts continue to warn that dangerous tornado outbreaks could explode throughout the evening and overnight hours across the Mid- and Deep South and Ohio River Valley.

"We actually are looking at a risk from the Gulf Coast to the Great Lakes to west of the Mississippi to the East Coast," Craig Fugate, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, told the Weather Channel. "And these storms are moving fast."


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Col. Colt Location: ENC on Mar 3, 2012 at 09:00 PM
    I think it is that time of year again! Like sunrise things happen when the time is right!
  • by God's Child Location: Grville on Mar 3, 2012 at 03:00 PM
    Pray and keep in mind.You might not see God, but He is right where He belongs. On HIS throne
  • by ignorance is a sin on Mar 3, 2012 at 11:55 AM
    naw, naw, naw. Lucifer done it. You Bible thumpers keep praying. I'm building a storm bunker with the brain God gave me.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Mar 3, 2012 at 02:12 PM in reply to ignorance is a sin
      obamas preacher"naw,naw,naw!!!Not god bless america,God dddd america"!
      • reply
        by To anonymous on Mar 3, 2012 at 03:47 PM in reply to
        Well, you can always go live on the planet Romney's god lives on!
  • by raymond on Mar 3, 2012 at 10:53 AM
    To anonymous. U say god is showing us he is in control. Well your logic makes no sense if u say that because that makes god a mass killer. Storms and hurricanes etc it all happens because it happens. No god exist. So u are also,saying god killed all them innocent people for nothing so now im suppose to get on my knees and thank him,and worship him for killimg my loved ones. Makes no sense to me. Please explain your logic.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Mar 3, 2012 at 03:40 PM in reply to raymond
      Yeah really. "Jesus loves you. If you don't serve Him, He will beat you to oblivion.. but He loves you!" Wow..
  • by Anonymous on Mar 3, 2012 at 10:42 AM
    The headline makes it seem like the tornados deliberately decide to strike the US. Read your science and find out exactly how tornados formed. They are a "all conditions are just right" storm force that spring up at just the exact moment that all of the conditions are perfect. To some degree they can be predicted, but the odds are on the "conditions".
  • by Concerned Location: EveryWhere on Mar 3, 2012 at 10:02 AM
    just Imagine a force from God you can't shoot at.it can't be Stopped.All you can do is pray.
  • by 1coolcat Location: behind you on Mar 3, 2012 at 07:41 AM
    come on bro, what the does Obama have to do with this? Idiots.
    • reply
      by anon on Mar 3, 2012 at 11:46 AM in reply to 1coolcat
      coolcat needs to study english a little bit more!!
  • by porkchop Location: g'ville on Mar 3, 2012 at 07:00 AM
    I liked it better when we could blame the Russians.
  • by Praying To God on Mar 3, 2012 at 05:21 AM
    If I live the way the Bible says I should and pray to an imaginary spirit, the weather patterns on the planet will change.....now I see how it's possible that someone could vote for Obama.
    • reply
      by anon on Mar 3, 2012 at 07:48 AM in reply to Praying To God
      when you die, you better hope that hell is imaginary!!!
    • reply
      by To PTG on Mar 3, 2012 at 08:38 AM in reply to Praying To God
      Or maybe if we stopped pumping gases into the atmosphere God gave us and destroying the O-zone, this wouldn't happen. It's just too easy to blame God!
      • reply
        by Great Point on Mar 3, 2012 at 10:43 AM in reply to To PTG
        Horses and bicycles...or walk.
  • by Anonymous on Mar 3, 2012 at 03:36 AM
    God is showing he is still in charge and is not happy.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Mar 3, 2012 at 07:40 AM in reply to
      a lot of it has to do with people from Bear Grass
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Mar 3, 2012 at 10:32 AM in reply to
        Probably the politicians in DC more than Bear Grass
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